Day 1 London - Estremoz
Titan’s VIP door-to-door travel service collects you from home, for your journey to London Heathrow Airport for a direct, scheduled British Airways flight to Lisbon. On arrival we transfer to the walled market town of Estremoz and the Pousada de Estremoz (4T). Enjoy a welcome drink before dinner this evening.
Day 2 Arraiolos - Estremoz
The town of Arraiolos quickly outgrew the restraints of its medieval walls, creating abundant legends. The perfectly formed 13th century castle is still an impressive sight, while within the town, churches draw crowds for their beautiful paintings and tiles. Arraiolos, however, is best known for embroidery. For over five centuries, fantastic tapestries and carpets have been created here and hung on the walls of palaces and castles. The period during which each piece was made can be pinpointed by the patterns and pictures, which changed with the fashions. Spend time in Arraiolos this morning and view the famous Arraiolos Tapestries, before returning to the hotel, stopping en route (2018 departures) for a wine and cheese tasting.
Day 3 Lisbon
Depart for a full-day tour of Lisbon, a settlement dating from Neolithic times, influenced by Phoenicians and Greeks, prosperous in Roman times and still vivacious today. The great natural harbour attracted many civilisations and encouraged the exploration of both land and sea. Many of the world’s greatest explorers called this city their home and the riches of their discoveries are apparent in the façades, World Heritage monuments and alleys adorned with ornate tilework.
Day 4 Estremoz - Alter do Chão - Portalegre - Marvão - Vila Viçosa
Our day begins with a visit to the lovely village of Alter do Chão and a stud farm for racehorses, the Coudelaria de Alter. This royal farm was founded in 1748 by King D João 5th, with the intention of breeding Lusitano horses - an ancient Portuguese breed, known for its proficiency in dressage. Today the Coudelaria also houses a museum and we join a guided tour of the site. We continue to Portalegre, a city with a strong history of involvement in the textile industry - an industry in which it prospered in the 17th and 18th centuries. Unique tapestries made using the hand loom technique are displayed at the Portalegre Tapestry Museum. The city is also home to many palaces and monuments, including a medieval castle, the cathedral, and the José Régio House-Museum. We also see the Church of the Convent of São Francisco. Our final visit on today’s journey is to Marvão, a town perched on a granite crag of the Serra de São Mamede. Follow the narrow streets up to the castle, from where you can enjoy the stunning views. Our day finishes with a drive through the beautiful area of Alentejo to Vila Viçosa, where we check-in at the Pousada Convento Vila Viçosa (4T) for two nights.
Day 5 Vila Viçosa
This morning we spend time exploring Villa Viçosa, where everything bar the citrus trees seems to be made of marble. Stretching alongside the vast main square is the finest example of a marble façade. It belongs to the Royal Palace, home to the Bragança dynasty and the birthplace of Catherine of Bragança, queen-consort of Charles II of England and initiator of the British trend for drinking tea. This afternoon, we take a tour of Elvas. Guarding the main route between Lisbon and Madrid, this garrison town, worthy of its UNESCO World Heritage status, was extensively fortified through the centuries. It played essential roles in battles with Spain, as well as serving as a base for General Wellington during the Napoleonic Wars.
Day 6 Vila Viçosa - Beja
Our journey takes us south today to Reguengos de Monsaraz. Nestled amongst the beautiful plains of Alentejo, this town’s list of cherished crafts includes traditionally made pottery, blankets and wine of great quality. After time to enjoy the town, our journey continues to Beja, and the Pousada de Beja (4T), where we stay for two nights.
Day 7 Évora - Beja
An included excursion will take you to Évora, a beautifully preserved Roman town with intriguing sites including the Diana Temple, the best preserved Roman structure on the Iberian Peninsula, and a picturesque town square where the Spanish Inquisition took its gruesome toll. For the remainder of the day, you may wish to explore this beautiful region independently. Quaint Beja has some enchanting sights within its walled centre. The Franciscan convent is lavishly decorated and the setting of a romance between a nun and a French soldier inscribed in ‘Letters of a Portuguese Nun’. A climb up to the Torre de Menagem (the Keep) of the Castle, the town’s marble landmark, is worth the effort for beautiful views and old tales of combat.
Day 8 Beja - Estoi
After breakfast we start our journey to the Algarve, taking time to explore Mértola & Vila Real Santo Antonio on our way. Sitting atop a rocky promontory, Mértola’s small castle looks imposingly over the white-washed buildings of this medieval town that creep down to the banks of the Guadiana and Oeiras rivers. At the mouth of Rio Guadiana, where Spain and Portugal divide, is Vila Real Santo Antonio. This small Phoenician fishing port has continued to thrive within the fishing industries. Our day is completed with our journey to Estoi and the Pousada de Estoi (4T), where we spend our last two nights.
Day 9 Estoi
Spend today enjoying Estoi’s charm. Stroll along cobbled streets and you may find many fine merchants houses for gazing and restaurants for grazing. The Milreu Roman ruins tell of the first ten centuries of the town’s existence. Alternatively, take an optional excursion to the charming historical town of Lagos and the picturesque fishing village of Sagres. Lagos’ history is strongly linked with the seas, as a centre for the European slave trade and the town from which Henry the Navigator left in 1415 to start the Portuguese Age of Discovery. Continue to Sagres on the very western edge of Europe. A little way out of the city, you’ll find Fortaleza de Sagres where Henry the Navigator is said to have established the first ever sailing school.
Day 10 Faro - London
We transfer to Faro Airport for a direct scheduled British Airways flight to London Gatwick. On arrival you will be met and guided to your Titan vehicle, for the journey home.